What are the major obstacles of single adoption?
September 24, 2009 4:46 PM   Subscribe

What are the major obstacles of single adoption?

I've come to the conclusion that I'm not particularly comfortable with raising a kid from birth to whenever they leave the house; I'm not interested all that much in marriage. And I believe it might be particularly difficult to find a woman who would respect those decisions. Nevertheless, I was born in a third world country and my non-biological dad is from the West and married my mom, who was single at the time. I went back to visit after 12 years. The standard of living was very intolerable and depressing. I never felt safe at all during my visit there. Even my own relatives scared me a bit, talking about money (or lack of) pretty much all the time.

America, granted its multitude flaws, is a damn fine country and moving here was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. My original plan was to just live a hedonistic yuppie life, partly due to the influence of my peers. The problem with that is I don't plan on settling down in the traditional sense. So... envisioning myself at 50 and still "living it up", doesn't strike me as particularly productive.

It came to me that perhaps I could also give the same gift my dad gave me, America. To two kids (preferably girl and boy), and above the age of 7.

I'm not particularly picky about the country. I'm most concerned with

1. Which countries are lenient with singles who want to adopt?
2. What bureaucratic obstacles am I likely to go through?
3. Can those obstacles be solved with money?
posted by fairykarma to Law & Government (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This question doesn't make sense to me. You say "I'm not particularly comfortable with raising a kid from birth to whenever they leave the house" yet you want information on adopting internationally?
posted by dfriedman at 4:56 PM on September 24, 2009

Would you consider foster care, turning into adoption? There are kids in the US that need a parent & stable life, too.
posted by kellyblah at 5:11 PM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

To two kids (preferably girl and boy), and above the age of 7.

dfriedman, sounds like the OP is not interested in babies.
posted by chez shoes at 5:12 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

D'oh! You're right. Didn't read carefully enough!

posted by dfriedman at 5:13 PM on September 24, 2009

Foster care does sound like the best idea to me, too.

So...you just want to cut out the early years?
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 5:20 PM on September 24, 2009

Do you have any relatives in your home country who would be interested in having their children come stay with you for their education? That might be an avenue worth exploring.
posted by amtho at 5:34 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure I understand the snarking about skipping the early years: older kids are harder to find adoptive homes for because most people want babies. It's a good thing for those kids when would-be adoptive parents are flexible about age.

A little googling turns up this list of international options for would-be single adoptive parents:

Ethiopia, Liberia (women only), Sierra Leone

Cambodia, China (although the singles quota is full right now and for at least a year), Hong Kong, India, Kazakhastan, Nepal (women only), Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam

Eastern Europe:
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus (women only), Bulgaria, Lithuania (women only), Moldova, Romania (country's closed right now), Russia, Ukraine

Latin America:
Bolivia (women only), Brazil, Chile (women only), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru

This chart goes into greater detail but covers fewer countries.

Additionally, it's my understanding that the more open you are to special needs kids, the easier it is to be matched with a child (to be crass, healthy kids are in high demand for adoption, special needs kids less so).
posted by Meg_Murry at 5:34 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: >So...you just want to cut out the early years?
I'm a guy. I just don't have the biological equipment nor emotional constitution for really young kids/infants, especially if they get sick. I've always gotten along with kids 7 or over. They're relatively predictable and more capable of communicating their needs to me.

>healthy kids are in high demand for adoption
Hmm.. that's interesting. The reason I want to do this is because I thought there was a low to moderate demand. But if the children are going to be adopted anyway due to high demand, probably by a couple, then it would seem a waste of resources to go head to head with bureaucracies.
posted by fairykarma at 6:23 PM on September 24, 2009

It is absolutely a wonderful thing to want to adopt older children. It is a mitzvah, as we Jews say and should be encouraged in every possible way.

However, if you don't think you have the nurturing capacity to rear a baby, you *really* aren't likely to have the capacity to take care of an older child you adopt, the vast majority of whom will have been seriously affected in some way by the awful conditions in which they were raised during their early life.

90% of brain development takes place in a baby's first three years. If those are spent in an orphanage (and that's true for the majority of international adoptions), there can be profound damage to the child's ability to care for others and to function socially and even to their intelligence.

One third of babies raised in orphanages actually *die* from immune and growth related problems due to lack of individualized attention-- babies need a primary caregiver and these kids get care in shifts instead. They will typically have head sizes and body growth in the bottom percentiles because of the developmental delay this can cause. To learn to love as a baby, you need the equivalent of at least one parent: you can't get that from shifts of workers instead, it just isn't what the brain recognizes as care.

That said, the vast majority of these kids will do just fine-- but they will need the kind of nurturing, repetitive, intensive care typically given to younger children in order to make up for what they missed. They may even need more repetitions of that kind of physical nurture than babies. And some will have profound social problems that look like autism, ADHD, PTSD, conduct disorder and virtually every other psychiatric disorder you can imagine, the risks of which are raised by abnormal rearing conditions.

The book I co-wrote with a child psychiatrist, The Boy Who Was Raised as A Dog has extended info on this.

Please do not let that discourage you-- but please go into this with your eyes open if you do.

Also, it typically costs tens of thousands of dollars and many countries will not allow single women-- let alone men-- to adopt. China is one that doesn't.
posted by Maias at 6:48 PM on September 24, 2009 [4 favorites]

As alluded to above, there are two kinds of adoptions, domestic and international, and within each of those are further subdivisions.

For international adoptions, a good place to start (for US citizens) is the US State Dept's adoption web site, which is full of fairly dry but informative articles. Note that many, but not all, countries follow the Hague Convention on Adoption, which heavily regulates how adoptions are done.

For domestic adoptions, there's several ways to go. The foster care system is full of older children and sibling groups. Not all of them are available for adoption just yet, but many are. A good (and somewhat heartbreaking) place to start is the gov't page AdoptUSKids. There are also agency-assisted adoptions as well as private (independent) adoptions.

You'll want to have a good, reputable adoption agency, one that's been around for a while. Check with the BBB or other sources to be sure that you've got a good one, and also ask around the many web discussion boards (such as forums.adoption.com).

To answer your original questions, there are many bureaucratic hoops you'll need to jump through. It's a long application process. You'll need a medical report, references, tax returns, financial report, proof of insurance, proof of employment, etc., and much of it notarized, stamped, sealed, etc. It's possible to hire someone to help you with the paper chase (so money does help a bit) but other than that there's not much you can do to speed up the process or change the rules.
posted by math at 6:59 PM on September 24, 2009

[Older children are] relatively predictable...

Ha ha ha ha. No, not really. I do agree with going into this with your eyes wide open. Adopting a child is a challenge. Not insurmountable. But it's a lot of hard work and can be filled with emotional ups and downs.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 12:15 PM on September 25, 2009

« Older I had to put up these posters in my own classroom;...   |   How do I make an Antivirus Pro 2010/Protection... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.